Although all of us have experienced nauseous feelings, hollowness or gut-wrenching moments, and what you call “butterfly feelings,” rarely do we associate the experiences with our gastrointestinal tracts. Your stomach is sensitive to emotions such as happiness, anxiety, sadness and anger, and when you are undergoing any of the above feelings, the symptoms can be triggered in your stomach.
The Stomach and Your Mental State
Scientists claim that in your stomach there are over trillions of microorganisms. The number of microbes is more than the living cells in your body. This means the stomach never works independently, and it is now believed that the microbes in your stomach have an essential link to the mental health of the brain. The term used to refer to the microbes that benefit behavior or the brain is psychobiotics.
The effects of the intestinal tract on the metal state of human’s are not a new discovery. For a long time, medicine has ascribed various mental disorders to our guts. As early as the 1800, there was evidence from a study of gastrointestinal psychology that one’s moods seemed to change with gastric secretions. Later, researchers concluded that the gateway to a variety of diseases of the brain. Conditions such as neuroses, fatigue and melancholia were linked to the microbes living in the intestinal tract.
Why does the stomach release food juices before the arrival of food just by the mere thought of eating? It is because there is a direct link between the brain and the stomach. The link is not just from the brain to the stomach, but it can take the reverse form. The stomach can send signals to the brain when it is troubled in the same way that a troubled mind can communicate with the gut. What this implies is that distress in the stomach or intestines can lead to depression, anxiety, fear, anger, stress and other types of moods.
When you experience gastrointestinal troubles for no apparent reason or physical cause, then there is a clear effect of emotions and stress. It would therefore be difficult to treat GI disorders and a stomach in distress without linking it to stress and other emotions.
Functional GI Disorders and Stress: Where is the Link?
Why, for instance, would you experience pain in the guts when you are going through stress, or why would you feel nauseous just before giving an important presentation? The answer is because there is a close interaction between the brain and the stomach.
It doesn’t naturally follow that all gastrointestinal functions and conditions are all triggered from the head because a lot of pain and bowel symptoms can be induced by several other physical factors. The symptoms as well as the physiology of the stomach are to a larger degree influenced by various psychosocial reasons.
What this means is that depression, stress, and other psychological influences can lead to the contractions of the gastrointestinal tract, worsen inflammations or make you prone to stomach infections.
There is a possibility that when the brain does not sufficiently control the signals of pain from the gastrointestinal tract, then some individuals with the disorders of GI functions might acutely perceive pain. When stress is added, the existing pain could appear worse.
Some person’s with functional gastrointestinal disorders might use therapy to minimize the effects of depression, anxiety and stress. There is conclusive evidence from studies that therapy approaches based on psychological factors have greater positive impacts on the digestive systems than pure reliance on conventional medicine.
Findings of Recent Studies
According to the recent studies, there is a direct two-way communication link between the central nervous system and the digestive tract. By manipulating the stomach bacteria in mice, researchers have been able to prove that the existence of the microbes in the gut influences the development of the brain in some ways. Leading researchers now know that areas of the brain that affect factors related to stress and the stress responses like depression and anxiety are regulated by gut feelings.
The intestinal bacteria also have the ability to transmit messages to the brain. By secreting neurotransmitters like tryptophan, gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, and acetylcholine, millions of neurons in the digestive tract capable of responding to the neurotransmitters can communicate signals to the brain.
Are Your Stress Symptoms Caused By the Gut?
Maybe you have problems from the stomach like loose stool, abdominal cramps and heartburn that could be causing you stress. If you suspect any link, you should consider other physical factors that might be responsible and discuss them with your doctor.
You could find a way of easing your digestive disorders and dealing with the stressors in your life. Do not just jump to conclusions but look out for several behavioral and physical symptoms that might be responsible for your digestive and mental state.